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October 27, 2009

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Baghdad probes lax security

IRAQI security forces blocked streets around the capital of Baghdad yesterday and conducted intense searches at checkpoints as authorities investigated the massive security failure that allowed two truck bombs to strike what was supposed to be one of the city's safest areas and kill 155 people.

The country's worst attacks in more than two years on Sunday targeted the Justice Ministry and Baghdad Provincial Administration in the heart of the capital.

Fear of more deadly attacks, especially in the run-up to the crucial elections, turned into anger over the government's failure to keep the country secure.

"Today, we came to work despite the fear inside us," said Siham Abdul-Karim, 49, an employee of the Culture Ministry located near the site of the bombings and surrounded by checkpoints yesterday. "We all wonder how could car bombs could reach these institutions."

There have been no claims of responsibility, but massive car bombs have been the hallmark of Sunni insurgents.

The death toll rose to 155 yesterday as residents buried the dead. About 500 people were injured, authorities said.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said 76 people had been arrested, but he did not say who they were.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said 76 people have been arrested so far, but he did not provide information on who they were or how they are believed to be connected to the horrific crimes.

Yesterday, a car bomb at a police checkpoint near Karbala in southern Iraq killed at least four people.


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